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Wondering who to vote for in the Indiana primary election? Get to know the candidates



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With Indiana’s primary election a little less than three weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about who will get your vote. For a full list of candidates, including state and local candidates, visit indianavoters.in.gov and click “Who’s on the Ballot.” 

Here’s where the federal candidates stand on a few key issues: 

UNITED STATES SENATOR

  • Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, is running to keep his seat as one of Indiana’s U.S. Senators.
    • Background: After being elected in 2006, Donnelly represented Indiana’s Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Donnelly was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. 
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Donnelly voted against proposals that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also opposes health care plans allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is when a patient has already received treatment prior to applying for insurance. 
      • Jobs: Donnelly pushed for a plan calling for Americans to create an energy policy, invest in infrastructure, improve workforce development and keep businesses competitive through exports and innovation, according to his campaign website. Donnelly also worked to pass an America Works Act that trains and connects job seekers with skills to local employers. 
      • Opioid epidemic: According to his campaign website, Donnelly supports a comprehensive approach that addresses prescribing practices, first responders and making sure rehabilitation and recovery programs have adequate resources.
  • Republican Mike Braun is running for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
    • Background: Braun is founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing and Owner of Meyer Logistics, a retail distributor based in Jasper, Indiana. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014 and served until 2017.
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Braun wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to his campaign website. He supports allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines and allowing businesses to come together to purchase insurance for a lower cost.
      • Immigration: Braun supports building a wall on the U.S.’s southern border. He also supports requiring every business to verify the immigration status of its workers.
      • Guns: The first issue listed on Braun’s campaign website is protecting the Second Amendment. The website says he is a hunter, National Rifle Association member and “100 percent pro-Second Amendment.”
  • Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th District, is running for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat.
    • Background: Messer has served as a representative in Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District since 2012. Before he was elected representative, Messer served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006.
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Messer supports a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
      • Immigration: Messer supports building a wall on the U.S.’s southern border. He also wants to end tax credits for undocumented immigrants.
      • Taxes: Messer supports a tax cut and a plan that will lower tax rates and double the standard deduction for working families, according to his campaign website.
  • Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th District, is running for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
    • Background: Before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, Rokita served as Indiana’s Secretary of State from 2002 to 2010.
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Rokita supports repealing the Affordable Care Act. He wants to create a free market system based on competition and choice, according to his campaign website.
      • Immigration: Rokita opposes amnesty and sanctuary cities. He also wants to deport criminals that immigrated illegally, according to his campaign website.
      • Guns: Rokita supports protecting the Second Amendment and Americans’ right to bear arms, according to his campaign website. He said increased gun control and regulations will make citizens defenseless, not safer. 


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 9TH DISTRICT

  • Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District, is running to keep his seat as Indiana’s representative for the 9th District.
    • Background: Hollingsworth was a businessman from Tennessee before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.
    • Important Issues: 
      • Health care: In his first term, Hollingsworth has voted on numerous bills that would repeal or replace portions of the Affordable Care Act.
      • Immigration: He supports building a wall on the U.S.’s southern border. 
      • Term limits: Hollingsworth supports term limits for congressmen. He proposed legislation in January that would amend the Constitution to limit a number of terms a member of Congress can serve.
  • Republican James Dean Alspach is running to represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. 
    • Background: Alspach is a business owner from Morgantown, Indiana, who works in home improvement. He plans to run for president if he wins.
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: At a 9th Congressional District health care forum, Alspach said he would support a universal health care plan. He said the first step is health care education on issues like HIV, heart disease and diabetes. 
      • Opioid Epidemic: According to his campaign website, Alspach believes early detection of opioid addiction is critical. He supports long-term treatments, including  detox, medically-supported withdrawal and needle exchange programs. 
      • Immigration: Alspach believes undocumented immigrants degrade the value of pension systems and leave the country when they gain education and experience. He also thinks illegal immigration is fueling the opioid epidemic, according to his campaign website.
  • Democrat Dan Canon is running to represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.
    • Background: Canon is currently working as a civil rights and constitutional rights attorney.
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Canon supports a single-payer health care system and the Medicare for All Act. According to his campaign website, he supports basic transparency and cost controls with a public option.
      • Opioid Epidemic: Canon supports a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program and an increased availability of mental health services. He also supports an increased availability of naloxone, a medication which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and increased access to opioid alternatives, such as medical marijuana, according to his campaign website.
      • Immigration: Canon supports a comprehensive immigration reform which includes a path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status immigrants and their families, prohibiting placing accused immigrants in detention facilities more than 100 miles from where they were arrested and prohibiting private corporations from having involvement in immigration detention systems.
  • Democrat Rob Chatlos is running to represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.
    • Background: Chatlos owns a trucking company. He originally ran as an independent before announcing he would join the Democrat party for the race.
    • Important Issues: 
      • Health care: Chatlos supports Medicare for every citizen or documented person, according to his campaign website. He also wants to eliminate paperwork and instead use a Universal MEDICARD smartcard system with each patient’s information.
      • Opioid Crisis: Chatlos supports a funding package covering everything from in- and out-patient treatment facilities, emergency services, needle exchange programs and naloxone distribution. He also supports the legalization of marijuana. 
      • Immigration: Chatlos supports an immediate audit of both the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify abuses of power or inhumane actions. He also supports funding for processing a pathway to citizenship for DACA participants and continued support for refugees and family reunification programs.
  • Democrat Liz Watson is running to represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.
    • Background: Watson has worked as the director of workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, as the executive director of the Georgetown Poverty Center and as the Labor Policy Director for Democrats in the U.S. Congress. 
    • Important Issues:
      • Health care: Watson supports universal health care coverage, specifically the Medicare for All Act of 2017, according to her campaign website. She also supports Planned Parenthood and allowing Medicaid patients to seek treatment there.
      • Opioid epidemic: Watson supports offering student loan repayment and forgiveness to workers at addiction treatment facilities in an effort to recruit more health care professionals to rural hospitals, according to her website. She also supports implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for opioid prescription.
      • Immigration: Watson supports a review of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She also supports the DREAM Act, which would grant permanent residency to Dreamers for eight years.

Indiana's polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 8. For more information on where you can vote, visit indianavoters.in.gov.

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